By University Communications
This story originally appeared on the UChicago Intranet
Hong Kong Campus: Key Facts
The staff at the University of Chicago’s Hong Kong Campus are all in agreement about one thing that makes their workplace extra special—they have perhaps an unmatched lunchtime backdrop.
“From the students’ hall, there is a beautiful view overlooking the outlying islands of Hong Kong,” said Manuele Bosetti, the senior associate director for employer relations for Chicago Booth Asia. “It could be very sunny, and its open views make me feel very happy.”
The Hong Kong Jockey Club University of Chicago Academic Complex | The University of Chicago Francis and Rose Yuen Campus in Hong Kong is situated perfectly along the cliffs on a historic site at Mount Davis—a modern ribbon-shaped building, with floor-to-ceiling windows that echoes the hilly contours of the seaside site overlooking the sea.
Designed by Revery Architecture (formerly known as Bing Thom Architects) under the leadership of the late Bing Thom, the campus, completed in 2018, combines modern functionality with the preservation of and respect for the site’s history (more on that later) featuring the adaptive reuse of existing heritage buildings.
But what goes on below the surface of the building’s structure—which also earned a prestigious Prix Versailles international architectural design award in 2019, is what makes the campus an important regional hub for ambitious research, study-abroad education, and a key expansion of UChicago’s intellectual contributions and academic collaboration in Hong Kong, mainland China, and Asia.
PROGRAMMING AT THE HONG KONG CAMPUS
Intan Chen, a 25-year veteran of Chicago Booth’s global campuses, joined the team in Hong Kong in 2019 and now serves as chief operating officer for the Yuen Campus and Booth Asia.
“I love the abundance of opportunity to collaborate, innovate, help others, and challenge myself,” Chen said, while also noting the team environment in Hong Kong.
That team includes 24 full-time employees that facilitate programming for hundreds of faculty, graduate, and undergraduate students across UChicago’s schools and divisions, including dozens of academic workshops, conferences, and public lectures each year. Since its inception in 2018, the Yuen Campus has also been a destination for faculty and students of the Executive MBA offered by Chicago Booth, professionals pursuing non-degree Executive Education courses, and the students of the College studying abroad.
The Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust also has a strong presence on the Campus, providing the institutional support to construct the complex, renovate the Heritage Courtyard and Interpretation Center, and create the Hong Kong Jockey Club Program on Social Innovation, which aims to enhance Hong Kong’s social impact by combining the best of the University’s education, research and global perspective with social impact-specific programs and local collaborations.
PRESERVING KEY HISTORY
In 2013, UChicago was granted permission to build the campus at Mount Davis on the site of the old Jubilee Battery, an important, but little-known heritage site. The Jubilee Battery formed part of Hong Kong’s western coastal defense system during World War II. After the war, it was used as makeshift housing for refugees, then a British Army Royal Engineers’ mess hall and quarters, followed by the Victoria Road Detention Centre under the Special Branch of the Hong Kong Police Force, where it was also used for police training purposes and the Force’s witness protection program. After the sovereignty handover of Hong Kong from the United Kingdom to China, the site became unoccupied. It had no permanent tenant for over a decade and was occasionally used as a movie set.
With the support from the Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust, together with the support of alumni, parents, and friends—led by University Trustee Francis Tin Fan Yuen (AB’75) and his wife, Rose Wai Mun Lee Yuen, the site was revitalized when the UChicago Hong Kong Campus opened its doors in 2018.
During his design process, late architect Bing Thom created a concept to ‘touch the earth lightly’ by floating the new buildings above the natural vegetation and to seamlessly integrate with the existing heritage buildings. Today, the Heritage Interpretation Centre hosts permanent and rotating exhibits open to the public that highlight the history of the site.
You can take a virtual tour of the Heritage Interpretation Centre on its website.